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Andrey Santos joins Vasco da Gama on loan from Chelsea

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Chelsea have confirmed that midfielder Andrey Santos has returned to Vasco da Gama on loan.

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Santos joined from the Brazilian side, who were promoted to the country’s top flight last season, in a deal worth around £18m in January but, due to post-Brexit rules, failed to obtain a work permit to play in England.

The plan had been to send Santos to Palmeiras on loan to aid his chances of securing a permit, but talks collapsed over Chelsea’s determination to maintain the option to recall Santos is the summer, midway through the Brazilian season.

Now a deal has been struck with Santos’ former side Vasco, who confirmed that the 18-year-old had signed a deal to return to the club until the end of June.

Now a top-flight side, the hope is that Vasco will be able to provide Santos with the experience needed to obtain a work permit before the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season.

Chelsea are also keen to ensure that Santos gets to feature at the Under-20 World Cup in May. Having shone at the South American Championships with Brazil in January, Chelsea believe an impressive summer tournament would also boost Santos’ chances of qualifying for a work permit.

A number of Brazil’s top sides were keen to recruit Santos after his impressive South American Championships showings, which saw him surprisingly finish as top scorer with six goals in eight games.

Back at Vasco, Santos will continue linking up with teammates like former Shakhtar forward Alex Teixeira and 41-year-old Nene, formerly of PSG and West Ham.